Thursday, 9 April 2009

War and the Landscape - Afghanistan - Paul Seawright

War and the landscape

Looking at the effect that war has on places and spaces. How natural beauty is destroyed by man made devices. Natural erosion to valleys and the landscape takes hundreds of years but a bomb can change the landscape in a matter of seconds. The desecration to the earth and the scars that are left behind will take hundreds of years to heal over. In the meantime we are left to wonder why.

Paul Seawright - Afghanistan

Paul Seawright was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to visit Afghanistan during 2002 after much of the devastation had been unleashed on the country. Avoiding the trappings of an exorcising vision, best typified by the photojournalist's portrait of Afghanistan as a spectacle of ruins, his series of pictures are spare, subdued, understated and quiet.

Seawright's responses to the terrain of the destroyed and heavily mined desert landscapes of Afghanistan, both draws upon, extends and reworks the distinctive aesthetic the artist had established through earlier photographic work, made first within his home city, Belfast. In war-torn Afghanistan, Seawright is less concerned with the visible scars of war, but instead the hidden malevolence of its landscapes (

Seawright photographed these shell cases in Afghanistan to show the viewer the aftermath of war and to make the viewer think about what took place in this valley. Much like that of Fenton (below) the valley is littered with empy shell casings but whilst Seawright chose to show only the aftermath this was a choice that Fenton himself had not control over- he was censored by the government and therefore his images could not show actual death.

Roger Fenton, The Valley of the Shadow of Death. Crimean War
Fenton took this image during the Crimean war in 1855

The similarites in the images is obvious.. but the overall effect is the same ..the thought of what took place,the hundreds of littered bomb cases - reminiscent of skulls - this eerie silent space like that of the image above taken some hundreds of years apart serves to show us that humankind will still continue to cause desturction not only to themselves but also to the places and spaces where they live.

Room, Afghanistan,

Derelict, empty, silent space

Another image by Seawright but this time showing the inside of a room that has been struck by a bomb – a place and space that was once a home – a build environment which should have been a safe haven, but now empty derelict and almost certainly hiding terrible secrets.

Columns, Afghanistan

What sort of building once stood here…again we are left with the
question what was the purpose of the construction. Large columns left as
crumbling wrecks similar to that of deteriorating and eroding ant hills, which succumb to the natural elements..except what caused this destruction was man made.

War and the landscape - Bosnia - Simon Norfolk

Simon Norfolk - Bosnia

Bleed by Simon Norfolk .
A river running red with blood! This is a site of a secondary mass grave where the bodies of thousands of murdered people lay hidden. The red water is caused by oxidization and appears to be the blood of those who were massacred during this conflict. This is a beautiful and surreal image which is both beautiful and haunting

War and the Landscape - Afghanistan - Simon Norfolk

Simon Norfolk

Simon Norfolk a photo journalist turned landscape photographer chose to photograph the aftemath of war - the devastation and destruction of the landscape in both urban and rural areas. He says

'These photgraphs form chapters in a larger project attempting to understand how war, and the need to fight war, has formed our world: how so many spaces we occupy; the technologies we use; and the ways we understand ourselves, are created by military conflict'

Norfolks photos reveal half-collapsed buildings, destroyed cinemas, and unpopulated urban ruins...... http://www.bldgblog/

Afghanistan, Simon Norfolk

Once a beautiful building, now riddled with bullet holes, a desolate empty and lonely place.

Norfolks imagery serves to remind us of mans power to create and then to destroy. What would have taken a long time to construct took minutes to destruct...a place that was once a hub of activity and housed many now nothing more than a shell with nothing more than dirt and rubble as its occupants.

The following link gives further information on Norfolk and his work.

King Amanullah’s Victory Arch built to celebrate the 1919 winning of Independence from the British. Paghman, Kabul Province."

Another image of a building destroyed by warfare.This time a magnificent archway that was built as a monument to celebrate independence from the British .. a bit ironic considering it was the British who helped to destroy it.

Norfolks huge colourful plates show the

devastation and destruction left behind on the

landscape and the environment, ruins of once majestic building and places that were once a source of livelihood. This image was taken in Afghanistan and shows the mangled remains of what was once a place of work, residence or worship… an image which leaves the viewer wondering not only about its purpose but at mans ability to destroy.

Another image showing the bombed out shell of a building. The circular structure symbolic of huge rings of stones from the past, smilar to stonehenge, which were used as places of worship or sacrifice. This structure however is not an ancient relic from a past people it was once a building which provided a livehood of a modern people and is now a ruin caused by modern man. ..the ruin of a livehood and a way of life.

For more images follow the following link

Burned out and blackened flats - this image is
similar in style to the work of Andreas Gursky.

City Scapes

City Scapes

Cities are places that are full of life and activity. They are not for those who seek peace and quiet. Cities now house a huge range of cultural and ethnic groups and are great for those who want non stop entertainment and business.

New York

The following information gives you an outline of what an
amazing city New York is.

New York is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is among the most populous urban areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over worldwide commerce, finance, culture, fashion and entertainment. As host of the United Nations headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs.
The most beguiling city in the world, New York is an adrenaline-charged, history-laden place that holds immense romantic appeal for visitors. Wandering the streets here, you'll cut between buildings that are icons to the modern age – and whether gazing at the flickering lights of the midtown skyscrapers as you speed across the Queensboro bridge, experiencing the 4am half-life downtown, or just wasting the morning on the Staten Island ferry, you really would have to be made of stone not to be moved by it all. There's no place quite like it


Dubai at night

Is this a mirage in the Middle East? Seemingly out
of nowhere emerges an ultra-modern city in the middle of
a desert. Dubai City is currently undergoing an
unbelievable transformation right in the heart of the Arab

This fast growing amazing city is full of unusual buildings and currently the tallest in the world is under construction.

For more information and photogrpahs on how this city is being build take a look at the following link.

More images of famous cities in the world - all reknowned for their beauty, lifestyle and culture.

Cape Town - a fast growing city built around the base of Table Mountain.




All these cities have famous places and sites to visit - Paris and the Eiffel Tower, Rome and the Vatican, London - Buckingham Palace.
Andrea Gursky

German artist Andreas Gursky is best known for his billboard-sizephotographs that inhabit a space between painting and photography,landscape and human concern, animate and inanimate. He often placeshis large-format camera at a high-angled distance from his subject,creating images that suggest mapping stills from outer space orcyber-technology. Sometimes computer manipulated, his images ofcorporate architecture, environmental contemplations such as pebblyearth, and mass groups of people freeze-framed mid-motion oftenreference the geometric forms of Minimalist Art and the "allover"quality of a Jackson Pollock painting. Our eyes dance across hisdense, often slightly abstracted images, which display strong formalelements as they blend relationships between nature, culture, andtechnology. He is particularly concerned with capturing motion andcreating a moment of stillness in that space.

The following images are photograhs taken by Gursky
showing the way of life for many people. They are large fine art prints
showing architecture but incorporating geometric design and

Public Spaces: Architecture and Landscape

Public Spaces and Public Places

What is a public space and why is important to
have them.
Definitions of public spaces

A public space refers to an area or place that is open and accessible to all citizens, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level. One of the earliest examples of public spaces are commons. For example, no fees or paid tickets are required for entry, nor are the entrants discriminated based on background. Non-government-owned malls are examples of 'private space' with the appearance of being 'public space'.
Public Space has also become something of a touchstone for critical theory in relation to
philosophy, (urban) geography, visual art, cultural studies, social studies and urban design. Its relevance seems to become more pressing as capital encloses more and more of what were thought of as 'commons'. The term 'Public Space' is also often misconstrued to mean other things such as 'gathering place', which is an element of the larger concept.

I have included a number of images of some of the most famous buildings in the world which are public places. they are also some of the most innovative designs.

Lyon Railway station, France - shaped like a swooping hawk

Sydney Opera House, Australia - shaped like shells

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain - shaped like a ship

Burj al Arab, Dubai - shaped like a billowing sail
These iconic buildings are used for public enteratinment, transport and pleasure.

Whilst researching I found this site which list a lot more public buildings and monuments around the world.